Beyond oncology, Mediclinic supports cancer patients and their loved ones. Nurses, social workers, and dieticians all make a difference in the fight against cancer. 

Cancer, a formidable adversary, not only challenges the physical well-being of individuals but also takes a toll on their emotional and mental health. Mediclinic, a beacon of hope for many battling this relentless disease, goes beyond the conventional boundaries of oncology.  

In this article, we shed light on Mediclinic’s comprehensive approach to cancer care, highlighting the crucial roles played by caregivers who form the backbone of support for patients and their families. 

Dr Charleen Muller, an oncologist at Mediclinic Cape Gate and Mediclinic Louis Leipoldt.

The Guiding Light: The Oncologist 

At the forefront of the battle against cancer stands the oncologist, a medical professional whose expertise lies in diagnosing and treating various forms of cancer. Mediclinic’s oncologists are not just doctors; they are empathetic guides who navigate patients through the complex terrain of cancer treatment.  

“Our first consultation with a new patient is an hour long,” says Dr Charleen Muller, an oncologist at Mediclinic Cape Gate and Mediclinic Louis Leipoldt, “but it is an overload of information. So, the most important thing is that within the group, everybody speaks the same language, to ensure we inform and educate our patients in the best way. If you can have a patient that takes ownership of the disease, you have the best chance of success in treating it.” 

With a deep understanding of the disease and its nuances, these caregivers devise personalised treatment plans, ensuring that each patient receives the most effective and compassionate care. Through innovative medical interventions and unwavering support, Mediclinic’s oncologists instil hope and resilience in their patients. 

Illuminating Insights: The Radiologist 

In the intricate web of cancer care, the radiologist plays a pivotal role. Armed with advanced imaging technologies, Mediclinic’s radiologists help in the early detection and precise localisation of tumours.  

“We work closely with the treating oncologist,” explains Marilize Neethling, who is part of the team of radiologists at Mediclinic Cape Gate. “The doctor will draw up a treatment plan, based on the patient’s specific diagnosis. We take that plan, meet with the patient, and do a planning scan, where we designate areas to treat, and areas to avoid.” 

Radiation therapy is highly focused and accurate, she says, and is designed to target cancerous areas without damaging other organs. “We meet with the doctor regularly through the treatment journey to draw in our tumour volumes and guide us in exactly which areas that they want us to treat. They can also indicate where and when to direct higher or lower doses of radiation – in the case of the kidneys, heart or lung, or the spinal cord, for example, we need to be careful and accurate. We will know exactly which areas they are aiming to treat.” 

Through techniques such as CT (Computed Tomography) scans, MRIs (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), and PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scans, they provide the oncology team with vital information for accurate diagnosis and treatment planning. By harnessing the power of medical imaging, Mediclinic ensures that patients receive timely and targeted interventions, enhancing the chances of successful outcomes in their battle against cancer.

Tracy Ugarchund, a dietician at Mediclinic Constantiaberg.

Nourishing Body and Soul: The Dietician 

Understanding that proper nutrition is a cornerstone of cancer care, Mediclinic integrates dieticians into their multidisciplinary approach. These caregivers work closely with patients, tailoring dietary plans that complement their treatment regimens.  

“Every patient is different, and the type of cancer and treatment will vary, therefore the diet intervention must be individualised,” says Tracy Ugarchund, a dietician at Mediclinic Constantiaberg. “A patient’s diet can be modified to ease the symptoms that may arise during cancer treatment. Teaching patients how to change the consistency of the meals and enhance the flavour to improve intake, how to modify foods to manage nausea, how to enrich foods to maximise calories and protein is all important to prevent malnutrition.” 

By addressing the nutritional needs and challenges specific to cancer patients, dieticians play a crucial role in supporting overall well-being. Mediclinic’s commitment to holistic care is evident as dieticians not only focus on physical nourishment but also consider the emotional and psychological aspects of the patient’s journey. 

Beyond Medicine: The Social Worker 

Acknowledging the profound impact cancer has on individuals and their families, Mediclinic recognises the importance of holistic support. Social workers, as integral members of the caregiving team, address the non-medical aspects of the cancer experience.  

“When a patient comes in, they have a lot of fears, a lot of anxiety,” says Dr Muller. “They’re meeting a new doctor; they’ve been given a new diagnosis and then they meet this team of people – we aim to be reassuring and compassionate. We like to build a relationship with them.” 

Social workers play a critical role in maintaining that relationship, guiding patients in all aspects of their treatment – in hospital and at home – over the course of what can be a years-long journey. From providing emotional support to helping navigate financial challenges, Mediclinic’s social workers are compassionate allies for patients and their loved ones. By fostering a supportive environment, these caregivers contribute significantly to the overall well-being of individuals grappling with cancer. 

In the battle against cancer, victory is not achieved through medical interventions alone; it requires a collaborative effort from a diverse team of caregivers. Mediclinic’s comprehensive approach, encompassing the expertise of oncologists, radiologists, dieticians, and social workers, exemplifies this united front.  

By recognising the multifaceted nature of cancer care, Mediclinic ensures that patients receive not only advanced medical treatments but also the unwavering support needed to face the challenges that accompany the journey towards recovery.  

Together, these caregivers stand as a testament to Mediclinic’s commitment to fighting cancer on all fronts, offering hope, healing, and a comprehensive approach to those in need. 

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